Sunday, February 12, 2017

Amaravathi - Underbelly Of A Glittering Metropolis

Sanitation is more important than political independence”,
Just as there is no shame in being a labourer for one’s self, so also is there no shame in labouring for others

The above two quotes from Mahatma Gandhi emphasizes on the importance of cleanliness and the dignity of labour. B M Giriraj’s latest venture, Amaravathi precisely portrays our attitude towards both.

In 2012, stink of Bengaluru’s garbage reached New York and London. Common perception about it was the mismanagement of waste. But few know about the mistreatment of men, who keep our cities garbage and filth-free – garbage collectors and sanitary workers. With realistic portrayal, they find their voice in the movie.

Shivappa is a sanitary worker, whose son, Chennabasappa is making a documentary on the lives of slum dwellers. How he completes his documentary braving all odds forms the main plot. Subplots of plight of sanitary workers and their family nicely blend to the narrative. But it is not a fully sad tale. Because there is subtle humor, which tickles. Pertinent questions posed in the movie, made me look for practical answers.

Insensitive attitude of the people and government of the people is a glaring highlight. I was perplexed at the civic body unwilling to provide the basic protective gear to the workers, which cost merely Rs.1500 per year. How workers subtly made to consume alcohol before the work and before going home in the evening, tells a lot about how the cleaning job gets done. It is literally nail in the coffin, when a worker gets inside a manhole. How the workers' jobs are not made permanent even after 18 years of service shows pathetic state of affairs. Add to it the lack of respect towards them by the men in power and the men with voting power.  How these aspects lead the dejected men to find love and happiness outside family and in crime is rightly depicted. Hard hitting dialogues add to the genuine depiction. When Shivappa utters a war cry saying “Let us make whole of Bengaluru, a vast dustbin”, it is an expression of collective anger. Class struggle mixed with caste struggle in a supposedly socialistic society, which is slowly morphing into a capitalistic society, speaks volumes about the destination, we all are heading to.

On the other hand, there are aggressive leftist leanings and the liberal usages of cuss words in the dialogues of few characters. I also felt that few subplots could have been removed and the film could have been trimmed. But the message, the film is trying to convey is clear – it is not revolution but awareness. Awareness about the people who live around us and labour for us. But we are blind to them. This message has not gone unheard. People in the movie hall, where I watched the movie gave a standing ovation at the end of the movie. Other than commercial success, what else can a maker want? We instantly vouch for Swacch Bharath(Clean India). But that’s not enough. We should also vouch for Swacch Man(Clean Mind). Let us clean our mind of the prejudices against the men, who keep our cities clean. Then only can we build our nation with cleaner cities and a clean society with cleaner hearts!

Here is the trailer of the movie, which is both poignant and captivating


  1. Nice balanced review. I'm sure it's not easy to review a movie made by someone who you know so well :)

    1. Thanks Bhup! You are right about the difficulties in reviewing a movie done by a friend! :)

  2. You've rightly captured the essence of the movie...

    Watched the movie Today... It needs to be applauded... It is sad that it is not reaching many...

    Btw, Giri and whole of the crew were present at the theater...

    1. Thanks a lot Manjunatha for your comments and appreciation. As you said it needs to reach a wider audience.

      Giri and team being present at the venue shows their genuine love towards the movie though may not make commercial gains.



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